Use sunscreen properlyOne of the biggest threats to skin health is the sun. While a daily dose of sun is essential for both our mental wellbeing and for the synthesis of Vitamin D, we only need 15 minutes of sunlight a day. Spending any more time in the sun without adequate protection can have serious consequences as UVA and UVB rays attack our skin. This causes premature ageing, burns and damage to the skin’s DNA, which can lead to cancer.
Some sunscreens only protect you from UVB rays, but UVA rays are also very damaging. So look for a UVA rating of three stars or more and a UVB sun protection factor of 30 to 50. Apply sunscreen every hour and after sweating or swimming. Find out more about good sun protection.
Stop smoking and drinking alcoholSmoking is a leading cause of premature skin ageing. It constricts the blood vessels, reducing the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the skin. It also breaks down the collagen, which is responsible for keeping our skin looking firm.
Alcohol expands the blood vessels causing redness, which in heavy drinkers can become permanent. Drinking excessively also enlarges pores, which can leave your skin more susceptible to infection and acne.
Drink plenty of waterAround 60 percent of our body is water, so if we don’t regularly top it up, our bodies will start to function less efficiently. This includes our immune system, which is key for skin health. Drink at least eight glasses a day, more if you’re being especially active.
Wash around once a dayIt’s important to clean your skin to get rid of nasty bacteria that can cause infections and odour, but cleaning too often can remove the protective oils that prevent your skin from drying out, leaving it vulnerable to infections. Washing once or twice a day is an adequate cleansing routine.
Use soap substitutesSoap can be very drying to your skin. Dry skin can lead to constricted blood vessels, which then can’t adequately supply nutrients to the skin cells. This prolongs the skin’s healing process. This means that hydrated skin is better protected from infections and inflammation. Using water on its own, or anti-bacterial gels, can help to prevent dry skin and avoid infection.
Use natural moisturisersThe chemicals used in some moisturisers found on the high street can cause an allergic reaction for some people. Natural substitutes like coconut oil and aloe vera will keep your skin hydrated and are less likely to cause a reaction.
Last updated Tuesday 5 July 2022
First published on Monday 16 May 2016